Poetry in Motion: Spoken Word Poetry and What It Means Today

deadline for submissions: 
January 31, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Paul McNamara
contact email: 

Poetry in Motion: Spoken Word Poetry and What It Means Today


Conference Organiser:         Paul McNamara


Contact Email:                      Paul.McNamara@mic.ul.ie


Title:                                     Poetry in Motion: Spoken Word Poetry and What It Means



Conference Location:           Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, Ireland


Date of Conference:             26th of April 2018





Johanna Drucker wrote about poetry in performance as a ‘real time event’, something that is alive in the moment of performance.  Spoken Word Poetry is poetry that is alive, that is in motion. The art form itself is also in motion as it constantly evolves and changes.


Spoken Word Poetry aka Performance Poetry or Slam Poetry has seen a surge in popularity in recent years. Music festivals have dedicated poetry stages, and cities such as Cork and Dublin have multiple nights dedicated to Spoken Word Poetry. While it has been ignored or discredited by some critics in the past, it has continued to evolve. With the success of poets such as Kate Tempest, Shane Koyczan, Neil Hilborn and Stephen James Smith, and the spread of poetry nights and poetry slams all over the world, it is an art form that needs to be discussed.


This conference is open to both artists and academics to explore what Spoken Word Poetry is and how it manifests itself in today’s world.  It is an opportunity for performers and critics to come together and discuss its role in society. How does it differ from traditional poetry? What are the popular Spoken Word Poets today saying? Can the art form be used to help reconnect young people with poetry?


This conference hopes to bring together both research and practice to attempt to better understand Performance Poetry and its place in contemporary literature and culture.


Topics and Themes include but are not limited to: 


  • What is Spoken Word Poetry?
  • The balance of performance and writing.
  • Poetry Readings
  • The role of Spoken Word Poetry in working with young people.
  • Literary Analysis of the work of Performance Poets.
  • The viral Facebook phenomenon.
  • The role of the audience.
  • Poetry slams.
  • Spoken Word Poetry and Video.
  • The language of Performance Poetry.
  • The historical development of Performance Poetry.
  • Irishness and Performance Poetry.
  • The Writing Process of Spoken Word Poetry.
  • Performance Poetry and self-expression.
  • Performance Poetry and social critique.
  • Spoken Poetry and the Irish Language.


Please email submissions to Paul.McNamara@mic.ul.ie including the following:

  • 250 word Abstract
  • 100  word Biography


Deadline for submissions: 31st January 2018